It’s raining in West Yorkshire. And apparently it’s also raining in Hartlepool. What this means for the result tonight, I’m not sure.
Lots of people have taken time off work, uni, or general hanging around to go up and help, and I had semi-planned to be there with them. It is all over bar the shouting, but there’s been people in polling stations, delivering last minute leaflets. There is, apparently, an amazing atmosphere. I hope it all goes well.
I suppose I’ll have to find something else to talk about next week, hopefully I should have some progress on the househunting to report.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. Other than exploring the nature of the universe, one of the things CERN is famous for is that it was where Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web.
Listening to the Today Programme this morning put in my mind a number of subjects to blog about. Unfortunately I was distracted and they’ve flown right out of my head.
One item on the programme was a piece on the English national Opera‘s new production of Don Giovanni, and how in order to keep it as “real” and as close in spirit as possible to the original, this English language version features scenes of sex, violence, and course language that have attracted the criticism of some opera goers. The coductor, speaking for the ENO, said it was what the piece is about, the person speaking against said it was all unnecessary sensationalism, it wasn’t provocative it was unpleasant and we’d seen it all before.
What distracted me was the name of the commentator speaking against the opera. He was introduced as “Oliver Kamm” of the Times. Anyway I spent some of the rest of my journey thinking it can’t have been this Oliver Kamm. The blogger who now writes for the Times and has an irrational phobia of Liberal Democrats everywhere?
Maybe it was.
I spent most of the day supporting Headingley Blacksheep Explorer Unit in their attempt at the Six Dales. The older, mixed team, performed brilliantly making Lofthouse (23 miles) with over an hour to spare, Grewelthorpe with 40 minutes to spare, and reaching West Tanfield (35 miles) for the first time in our short history. This was the first time since the new trophies that a mixed 14-19 team had been entered so the leaders were surprised to see this team had competition.
The other team (an all males under 16s team) had problems with some members being slower than the others, and had to split up and reform part way to Lofthouse. Two members of the team made it as far as Grewelthorpe, a personal best for one of them.
Both teams did well, and won the trophies for their classes.
19th North Leeds entered two teams, but due to inexperience they were accompanied by adults and could not enter the under 16 categories, putting them up against fellowships and networks in the Open class. One of the teams got a little lost, which was slightly embarrassing for one of the adults with them Mark C, who was greatly experienced and had even won the competition in the past.
Did my bit for democracy today helping Jody’s campaign in Hartlepool. Picked up a student from York who’d accepted my offer of a lift and ended up there about 10 am.
Work involved posting letters to Hartlepool residents in various parts of the cities. After Lunch went and paid in some money to the bank, and drove past Fathers 4 Justice who were holding a protest outside the Labour Party HQ. Their candidate, Paul Watson, spotted us (I had Jody Dunn Diamonds stuck in the back windows of my car) and yelled “D******ds”. I thought, “That’s rich coming from someone dressed up as ‘The Joker’”
On our travels we also came across Respect, UKIP and the Conservatives. We obvserved that Tory activists appear to need to hunt in large packs. We also came across some houses with awkward names, and tricky letterboxes. Some areas of Hartlepool looked like nice places to live, but Hartlepool to Steeton is a bit far to commute.
Had an appointment last night to see a house in Oakworth, however we were stuck in traffic, and just as we were pulling up, barely five minutes late, the guy from the agency was pulling away. No attempt had been made to call me on the mobile to see where I was, and the office was unmanned at 5pm.
We did however look round the house from the outside, and a chat with the neighbour revealed problems with the disused school opposite that put me off. We also looked round a few more houses from the outside.
Currently I’m waiting for the agency to ring me back, because we saw another house that I liked the look of and would like to look round.
Gez Smith clarifies his points on free food people don’t just ply you with food, they try to drown you with leaflets as well. The BBC seem to be rubbing it in with their captions, on Gez’s diary it says “He parties, so you don’t have to.” He also observes, “Why are journalists always so interested in the bar?” It’s one of those eternal questions isn’t it.
Vivienne goes on to show that there are fringes and training sessions on practical subjects, including one on stress management, which must unfortunately be a key skill for anyone these days, let alone those involved in politics.
Conference ends today with a speech from Charles Kennedy today, and then people will be making their way home. I’m sure I’ll hear all about what went on later on.
Possibly on Saturday. I have decided to visit Hartlepool at the weekend. Won’t be staying over for a couple of reasons, firstly the Explorers are entering the Six Dales on Sunday, and secondly due to the proximity of the Great North Run and by-election day all the hotel rooms are likely to be booked up. Needless to say, if any local readers want a lift…
Speaking of Hartlepool, Comical Tommy has a new entry.
Everyone seems to be having a busy time at conference, so much so that the bloggers down there aren’t making many entries. Those that have managed to find their way to a computer are saying the time is flying by. Others seem to be admitting to having so much fun, they’re burning the candle at both ends. According to Gez Smith on his BBC diary there is lots of freebie food and drink to be had to offset the cost of entry and accommodation. He does seem to have a lot to say about the freebies.
We seem to have some people rattled. Both the Mirror (as read by Steve Guy) and the Sun came out against us yesterday for opposing reasons. The Sun, in a bizarre nonsensical piece of polemic, reckoning we are too left wing and that we are going to wreck the economy, and the Mirror claiming we are just Tories in disguise. But perhaps it’s no bad thing, as both start from the assumption that we are a major political party and worth bothering with. According to Charles Kennedy, “The Sun attack alongside the Mirror attack, where one thinks we are ludicrously right wing and the other ludicrously left wing, show we are probably getting it about right.”
Yesterday’s agenda was all about the Environment, and Welfare, continuing our position of being the most environmentally aware of the three main parties with a carrot and stick approach to environmental taxation, and transportation measures including the building of a new North-South high speed rail link. The issue of the rights of Ghurkha soldiers was discussed with, (according to Martyn Hencher) a Ghurha speaking really passionatly about his situation.
Today’s main issues are Law and Order, Health, and Pensions. Mark Oaten, was on the Today programme promoting tough Liberalism, which is really just saying the inelegant and liberal options to punishing offenders. Instead of mindlessly locking people up, community panels will have the power to issue constructive punishments that fit the crime, say hard graft replanting trees for vandals that wreck parks, rather than putting their feet up in a cell. Other policies up for debate include the draft manifesto pledges of free healthcare for the elderly and improved pensions for the over 75s.
The Today Programme keeps mentioning The Orange Book, claiming everyone is talking about it, however I havn’t seen or heard any evidence to support that claim beyond BBC Radio 4.
The feeling I get from the news, and from what I do hear from my friends and fellow bloggers down there, is that everyone is really upbeat.
After a 7 month delay due to legal reasons, Radio 4 are broadcasting a new series of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy based on the third book “Life, The Universe and Everything.” Make a note, tonight, 6:30pm, listen to Radio 4.
Just have to remember to tune in. But if you miss it there’s always the Thursday late night repeat.
During last weeks Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation he made the comment:
“If you just took everyone from the BNP and everyone who votes for them and shot them in the back of the head, there would be a brighter future for us all.”
Now members of the BNP are complaining that Jeremy and the BBC are guilty incitement to murder, even going as far as describing it as advocating genocide. Er no guys it was satire. The BNP are in no way an ethnic, cultural or socio-economic group so the genocide claim is fairly far-fetched as well. The suggestion that the programme is seriously encouraging criminal activity is, quite frankly, ludicrous.
So far there has been no evidence that anyone has taken the BNP’s complaint seriously.
Click on this link before Thursday to hear the “offensive” remark in context.